In the past 24 hours, the social media have been inundated with reports about a cold war brewing between Cross River State Governor, Sen. Ben Ayade and a front line media activist and State Chairman of the AAC, Mr. Agba Jalingo over the later critical Facebook post about some activities of the Governor.
Agba who is the host of the popular Hit 95.9FM Calabar radio program, “The Dialogue with Agba Jalingo” and the publisher of CrossRieverWatch had in the past few weeks questioned some activities of the Governor including the motive behind the construction of Airport in Obudu when the Bebi airstrip in Obanliku, constructed by the Donald Duke administration has been left moribund!
There’s no gain saying that since the inception of the Ayade’s administration in 2015, Agba Jalingo has been one of the core persons promoting and supporting some of the Govervnor’s policies and projects. He has received several knocks for doing so. Many have also accused him of being paid by the Governor to defend him on some issues that attract wide criticism.
While promoting, he usually also disagrees with the Governor on some issues. Most times, he sends his observations to the Governor privately but what broke the Carmel’s back in the past 24 hours was the allegation by Agba in an opinion article that the Governor reportedly withdrew a whopping sum of N4 billion from the Local Government and State Joint account few days before the last election.
The Governor who without doubt has Agba as one of his closest friends (young brother) was not happy with the allegations. In fact, Governor Ayade has never been happy with anybody who criticises him!
Personally, despite all I did for the Governor, before, during and after the elections that has left many to erroneously accuse me of having my palms greased by the Governor, I’ve had my own share of verbal attack directly from the Governor over a sentence in an article that he probably misconstrued. I deliberately didn’t want to make it public because for me, there was nothing special that my Governor called to quarrel over a sentence he didn’t like (he actually misunderstood me). Despite my support for his reelection and the laudable things I said about him in the about 35 paragraphs article he reacted to, what attracted his attention was the less than five words sentence!
Honestly, when he called, I thought he wanted to say thank you for my efforts but unfortunately, it wasn’t so and I took that in good faith. I have continued to support him because my decision to do so wasn’t because I was expecting anything from him; not even as “thank you.”
Back to the main issue!
Although, it’s an established fact that the Governor doesn’t like criticism especially from his supporters, in my thinking, both the Governor and Agba are wrong therefore they both don’t have to follow the length of the snake to kill it!
For me, I honestly believe that the Governor’s reaction to Agba was private therefore would have been left like that. Despite the Governor’s dislike for criticism, it’s not everybody that he take seriously to the point of replying personally when he reads issues that doesn’t suit him. Although in an angry tone, I believe the Governor reacted the way he did because he sees Agba as his own and someone that he can trust to talk to at anytime.
I remember sometime last year, during Agba’s “The Governor Must Hear This Series”, the Governor according to Agba himself advised him not to tell him things in public again because he has unlimited access to him to tell him whatever he likes. Agba stopped the series and as before was talking to him privately. The Governor is also human, he may have felt a little bit disappointed that Agba his man, was telling him things in the public again.
On the part of the Governor, he also made mistake by doing the job of his media aides. Yes, he may have reacted to Agba whom they always talk privately as his “man” but the right thing to do in the event that there’s a publication he doesn’t like was to direct his media aides to write a rejoinder stating his own side of the story. We all know that there are two sides to every story, but a straightforward rejoinder without bitterness would have served the purpose of correcting what he tagged “misinformation” than the secret banter.
With his experience with the then IPAC Chairman, Goddy Akpama in 2016 when the former released to the press, all their private text messages over certain disagreements, he would have known better that private disagreement with media savour person is as good as public verbal war because definitely, it must leak.
Now, by age and social status, I’m the least qualified to adjudicate in this matter because both the Governor and Agba are my elder brothers and I’m not even near their social status in the society.
However, as minute as I am, I want to appeal to both my senior brothers to sheath their swords. At this point, they need to reflect back to how they were and allow the bond that once held them together to prevail. Conflicts or disagreement exist in every relationship but how such conflicts are managed can inflict more pains or rebuild a relationship to even a better standard! Let this disagreement not destroy but strengthen their relationships.
One question that should always strike their minds is what they both stand to benefit if they continue engaging in their fruitless banter. Would it translate to bettering the lots of Cross Riverians because I believe that’s what they’re both working to achieve or would it affect the efforts to develop the State? The answer is of course the later because Cross River will benefit more when Agba and Governor Ayade channel the efforts used in pursuing their disagreements to working for the state!
Like Winston Churchill said “It’s always better to jaw-jaw than to war-war”, therefore, I want to passionately appeal to both parties to first accept that they’ve both offended each other, eschew all bitterness and continue to work together in the interest of Cross River people.
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